Lou Ives
October 22, 2008

Rod Walker


Sure, send your Dad’s story (and photos) along. The Brown Shoes Project is open to all who supported Navy pilots (inclusion of others is limited only by available resources). K-3 (Pohang) certainly qualifies. It was a base for Marine units and staged many Navy aircraft during the Korean War. I landed an F9F there on May 2, 1953 when we gave our remaining F9s to the Marines. Marines go through Navy flight training and their aircraft are interchangeable (the Navy also furnishes corpsmen, doctors, nurses, chaplains to the Marines).

I also started in the N2S. Great machine.

If you can send your Dad’s story as an attachment, fine. Snailmail is also acceptable. Photos should be sent by attachment or originals by snailmail (copies don’t reproduce well). Original photos will be returned. We’d appreciate any photos of K-3.

How did you discover the Brown Shoes website? We are still developing the structure.

I checked the International Specialized Book Services website. Sound interesting.

I’ve always said that the West Coast starts on the north shore of the Golden Gate and gets better as one heads north.

Lou Ives


(LT COL Walker’s story follows)


Lt. Col. William L. Walker, USMC 1

When I thought about this subject, I did not know if anyone would be interested at all. Still, I felt that I would like to write it down anyway... just for my own satis­faction. Then I wondered, if I was going to do this, how was I to approach it. I finally settled on just using the sequence in which I was introduced to them. Some readers might not know the military aircraft designation, so I will try to give other names as well.



The first aircraft that I flew in was one in which I was just a passenger. One day around 1933 or so I was at the Yakima Airport and Charlie McAllister was taking people up for rides in his two cockpit wood and fabric aircraft. It had a radial engine and may have been a Waco of some sort. Anyway there were three kids standing around that wanted a ride, so Charlie said if we each had a dollar he would take us all up at one time. All three of us squeezed into the back seat and one strap held us all in. Charlie gave us a 15 minute ride. It was unforgettable to this 12 year old.



After the start of WW II, I applied for V6 flight training but was turned down on my eyes. Next I move along to 1943. Drafted I went to San Diego and then to Mirimar MCAS. There I entered training for the duties of a navigator. Our training was some in R4D, Dakotas, and also in R5C, Curtis Commandos. Both are twin radial engined transports with the R5C having the bigger engine and load capability. (R2800 P&W vs R1830 Wright) Our final exam was a flight to Buffalo, New York where the planes were built, for some final modifications before it went overseas. I went to Hawaii and met up with the planes from Mirimar there. They had to put extra fuel tanks in the cargo area to make the 2400 plus miles from California so we went over on an aircraft carrier as passengers.



After about 850 hours of flying as a navigator on that overseas tour, I came back to El Centro in April 1945. The Air Station was now the Marine Corps transport aircraft base where I expected to continue flying as a part of a transport crew. Such was not to be. I was selected to go to the Marine Corps Air Station at Mojave, California. There a Marine Air Support Group was preparing to be the complete air complement of a Jeep Carrier to be assigned in support of the invasion of Japan. I stopped off in San Diego and was given instruction on the intricacies of the plotting board. It was quite foreign from transport navigation. Then on to Mojave, where I went flying in the belly of a TBM Avenger, the Grumman built aircraft referred to as the "Turkey". Fortunately when I was in Hawaii I had some time flying in PB2Y-2 Coronado flying boats (4 engined) which gave me needed experience in reading wind off the water. We flew from Mojave off the coast of California to teach navigation. About this time, when I passed all they eye exams that I had failed earlier when I applied for Navy V6 training, I applied for flight training. When VJ day arrived in August I had orders to Dallas, Texas for flight training.

At Grand Prairie Field in Dallas I was introduced to the first plane I would actually fly and soon solo. It was the famed yellow peril, the biplane tail dragger, the Stearman N2S. It had a smaller radial engine that was started by a centrifugal starter. Two men would wind up a inertial wheel with a hand crank, and then on signal the wheel would be engaged to the engine with the gas and ignition already set. Surprisingly they usually started quite well. My instructor was a Marine named Mac Lachlan who had flown Corsairs. He could not understand why I thought I wanted to fly transports. After 10 hours and solo we went on into flying formation, acrobatics and cross country flying. Formation take offs were not bad, but landing got hairy at times when the flight leader forgot his wingman and made a low turn to final that put the inside man in the tree tops.

That was my last flying of the N2S. I often wished later that I could get my hands on one. It was a responsive aircraft that could do things other planes could not do well such as the Falling Leaf, a stall maneuver in which rudder alone would make it fall from one side to another. It was real open cockpit flying that called for wool lined flight gear in the winter and the instructor carried on a one way conversation by means of a rubber tube called a gosport.

I was next introduced to the SNJ Texan. Known by the other services as the AT-6. For this I went to Corpus Christi, Texas. One of the most durable planes around, it is still being flown in air races at Reno. It did not have a reduction gear for the propeller so it got real noisy at high RPM for the tips are at transonic speed. I was later to instruct using the SNJ. At Corpus I had a long stay. The war was over and I would get started with an instructor and then he would be discharged and I'd have to wait for another. I was given solo flights galore just to keep me active. I was there from March 1946 to June 1946, so I guess it wasn't that long.

From Corpus it was to Pensacola and an introduction to piloting a multi-engined aircraft. We flew the twin engine SNB. I never heard it called anything but the Beechcraft. I would meet it again many times for it was an all around workhorse. It could carry 3-4 passengers and was stable. It was a little tricky to land and did not like tail wheel first landings, but rather wheel landings-- just drive it on and reduce the power after touchdown. Training was a matter of learning crew coordination. Pilot in command (PIC) was in the left seat and copilot on the right. PIC put on the power he wanted and when he tapped the throttles, the copilot job was to maintain the power. We each checked for wheel extension by a mirror on the engine and gave thumbs up for clearance on the side. It was training that would come back naturally. Training was conducted out of Corry Field at Pensacola.

From Corry Field we moved to Saufley Field also in the Pensacola area, and back to the SNJ for formation, gunnery, and carrier qualification on the U.S.S. Siapan. I received my designation as a Naval Aviator on Jan 31, 1947.

In February of 1947, I was sent to Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Florida for advanced training in the F4U Corsair. Towards the end of March I started flying the Corsair. I know now that every aircraft a person flies for long becomes one that he loves. Even some called "Beasts" and "Turkeys" were loved by pilots who had flown them much, but the Corsair was and still is something special to me. It had a gull shaped wing plant form like no other. The gear retracted back and turned as it folded into the wing. It could fly slow. It could fly pretty fast for its day. It could fly high where oxygen was essential. Later on I had one to 40,000 feet where it was really cold and the canopy did leak air. We did the full range of formation, instruments, bombing, and gunnery at Cecil.

Then in July 1947 we went back to Corry Field in Pensacola and checked out in the FG-1D. This is an earlier version of the Corsair built by Goodyear during the war. It had a 3 bladed prop and bilges below the cockpit that a person could dangle their legs down into if they felt like it. After about 10 hours more we went aboard the USS Wright and qualified for carrier landings.

My association with the Corsair continued as we went west to Marine Corps Air Station, E1 Toro. Here I was assigned to two different Corsair squadrons. The first one was transferred in number only to the east coast and I was reassigned from VMF 224 to VMF 452 in May of 1948. In both we flew the F4U-4B which differed from others in that it had 20 mm cannon rather than 50 caliber machine guns. It also had a two stage, two speed supercharger commonly referred to as the blower. Near the tail end of that tour I was sent to VMA-311 on temporary duty to check out in my first jet aircraft.

It was called by the Navy the TO-1, but most of the world knew it as the F-80 Shooting Star. It was a very clean aircraft and had to be handled gently to prevent getting what is called a porpoise on landing. Best to just go around again if you got into that. It had a centrifugal flow turbine engine which was common to start with, but since nearly all have gone to axial flow engines. It also brought me into the world of pressurized cockpits, constant wearing of the oxygen mask from ground up, and speed brakes to mention a few things. This is the squadron that I would later command doing another of it's first.. first Marine Jet Squadron on the West Coast.

Then I got Shanghaied to Wing staff as judge advocate for the General Courts Martials held. No fun. But I did get to check out in some Wing Headquarters aircraft. I guess the high point was the F7F 4N which I did in June of 1950. It was a twin engined fighter that was a going machine. Like two Corsair engines at once. At least they were both R 2800s but I don't think the F7 had the same blower system. The Korean War was starting and I had expected to be put back into a Corsair Squadron and head west. Instead HQMC had already slated me for Aircraft Maintenance Officers School in Quantico. Oh, I would get to Korea all right, but at a later time.

At Quantico the Air Station had some Corsairs, but they also had some F8F Bearcats. This was Grummans answer to the Zero, but the war was over before it got there. It was a real light weight, speedy, but touchy little plane. It was very short coupled which meant it wasn't a good instrument platform, but it was really fun to bend around the sky. After completing the shortened course, we went to Cherry Point where I was assigned to VMF 122. We flew the F2H-2 Banshee, a twin engined axial flow jet, but still a straight wing.

We were destined for a Med cruise aboard the U.S.S. Oriskany. A mad house getting ready. Hurry up and check out, get some formation time and gunnery time, do FCLP (Field Carrier Landing Practice) and then qualify aboard a carrier before we went. This all in two months from Feb. 15 to April 21 of 1951. We made it. I would not say without incident for on my second flight in the aircraft we were to practice shutting down one engine and then making an air start. We had just changed fuel types from JP-3 to JP-4 which had more BTUs per pound, but also needed better airflow to start. I was not able to get an air-start of JP-4 so we decided to kind of head back towards home field. A single engine landing should be no problem. However, on the way back the good engine started unwinding and went to zero RPM. No power! Fortunately Cherry Point has a huge mat type of field with crossing runways. I was trying to make the duty runway, when I realized I was too high and hot so I picked another runway. It was still scorching along even after the gear came down and some good soul hollered "speed brakes". That got me safely down though I did blow a tire and went off the side of the runway. Anyway no accident was charged to me The oil line on the good engine had broken at the Y drain valve. Also the manufacturer came out with liners with larger air holes to help the air start problem. Later we would " single up" many times with no trouble.

No new aircraft on the Med cruise. Just a lot of flying and sight seeing. Back in Cherry Point in December 1951 guess what?


Dec 1951

I was being reassigned to a squadron going to Korea. The skipper of VMF 122 tried hard to let him take the Banshees over, but there were no supply parts for the Banshee in the Naval Supply system in the far east. There were supply parts for F9F Panther Jets and a squadron was forming to take a new version out, the F9F-4. It had a larger Allison engine rather than the Rolls Royce Nene in the 2 and 3 versions. So on the 10th of December I joined VMF 115 as Maintenance Officer. We were in Japan by February 14 with our aircraft. We flew a bit and then headed for K-3, Pohang Airfield in Korea. By March 1 1952 we entered combat.

All was not hunky dory with the Allison engine in the Panther 4s. The compressor parts began breaking off and the engine would not produce thrust. We lost one pilot and were lucky to get some others back. The F9F-4s were all grounded in May of 1951. A one time ferry flight was authorized to get them all back to Japan to wait for modified engines. In the meantime we picked up the F9F-2s of a Navy Carrier Squadron which was going back to the States. We flew these, but they were dogs in comparison to the 4. About half the bomb load could be carried. When the new engines for the 4s came in to Japan, I went over and test flew each one as a crew from our squadron changed the engines. On one of the test flights I had an incident which proved the worth of the hard hat helmet. On a descent from 30,000 feet at limiting mach number, .94 as I recall, the canopy failed and imploded inward. Pieces bashed me on the head. No harm done.

I put the speed brakes out and headed for the base at Kisarazu. Later a flight surgeon came over from Atsugi Naval Station and got me a new helmet for my old one. He wanted to show pilots why they should be worn. Some of the old timers who still wanted to wear their cloth helmets. With the planes all back in service in Korea, my tour there was about over. I had totaled 75 missions over the bomb line to North Korea when I left.


Dec 1952

My orders were to the Naval Air Training Command for duty as a flight instructor. After leave, collecting my family and travel to Pensacola, I started flying in December of 1952. First the Instructors Basic Training Unit for standardization purposes and then to various fields as we were rotated about during our tour there. The plane I taught with was the old familiar SNJ. Later in the tour I instructed instruments in the T-28C. I think it had another name, but I do not remember it. After the SNJ though, the T28 was a Cadillac. Gorgeous instrumentation, tricycle landing gear, with blower and speed brakes that made it a good pre-jet trainer. No wonder the civilian market snapped them all up when the Navy did let them go for true jets.

I left the Training Command with over 3000 hours total. Of this about 1500 were in the SNJ alone. Flying really slowed down for I was off again to school at Quantico in July of 1955. Nothing new at Quantico as far as aircraft are concerned except the name of the Corsair had been changed to AU-l. School was over in June of 1956 and then we went to Opalocka Field just north of Miami. There I joined VMA-331 and flew AD Skyraiders till May of 1959. The squadron moved to the Philippines in June of 1958. We flew the AD-5 in Opalocka and the AD-6 afterwards. The Skyraider was a real work horse. It was capable of carrying the bomb load of a B17 in WW II. Racks all over the underside of the wing with belly tanks to boot. The engine was a big Wright R 3350. It was not a high altitude aircraft. We sometimes called it the trash and junk delivery squadron. It was and honest and reliable plane, but you did have to know that engine and how to get the most out of it without abusing it. A big part of the mission in Japan where we went after getting the planes in the Philippines, was to be able to deliver a nuclear weapon. We called them Special Weapons. Their planned possible employment called for much training. How the weapon was loaded and armed, what kind of maneuver to use to deliver it and what method of navigation to use. It was essentially a low level, come in under the radar, type of delivery. This called for the old friend, reading wind off the water, to come into play again. Missions were planned as long as 14 hours. Had the signal come in to use it, I doubt if there was a 50 percent chance of survival for the pilot. Fortunately , we never did have to find out.

In June of 1959 it was back to Norfolk, Virginia for duty as instructor in air support as a part of the Landing Force Training Unit (LFTU) Flying was catch as catch can with mostly SNBs and a few T-28s for two years. Then we went to Omaha, Nebraska, where Bill got his degree. While there we flew Army L-19s, spotter type planes, and Air Force U-3A, a military version of the Cessna 310.

From the University of Omaha, I was next assigned to E1 Toro and joined MAG-15 group staff. I had been away from jets for a long time and really felt out of it. So I was sent to a training unit, VMT-2 and there flew the F9 again. Only this time it was a swept wing version with a P&W engine. To me it was a complete stranger. The controls were different being a combination of spoilers and ailerons. They were not smooth feeling and there was little stability either longitudinally or laterally. I probably would have liked he plane if I had flown it longer. It got me back into jet flying again.

While at the group the F4 Phantom arrived on the field and to squadrons in our group. I got a back seat ride in one and realized it was the coming thing. However, my chance for a squadron came when VMA-311 was switched to another group. It was located around the field from the group I was in, but had still been a part of the group. A reshuffle of the groups put 311 in MAG 33. Our Group Commander lost interest in the squadron and as it was transferred he asked the Wing to assign it to me. I was glad. As you might guess, I really did not care for the Group Commander for he was one of the "Old Crony" types. If he didn't know you, he wasn't very much interested in getting acquainted. Be that as it may I got the squadron.

The squadron had the A4B Skyhawk. This plane was once known as the world's smallest bomber. Designed by Ed Heinemann of Douglas Aircraft, it was really a tight fit for me. I wonder if I could ever have gotten out safely. Still a friend of mine who was as big as I am ejected when he had engine failure and got out o.k. So I didn't worry about it. To my joy and delight I found we were scheduled to get new aircraft in a few months. The A4B had a J65 engine, again a copy of a British engine. The A4E came with a J-52 engine which was much lighter and considerably more thrust. The Echo was a fine aircraft with a lot of beautiful systems.

We got along well with it, flew a lot and before I knew it my year was up. We made a couple of deployments. One to Yuma, Arizona and one to Fallon, Nevada so that we could get the use of targets in both areas. El Toro really had no target areas and is probably one of the reasons it is being closed out. My year was about up but I had the opportunity to fly another aircraft. My neighboring squadron had F8U Crusaders. This plane is unusual in that it had a wing that would go up and down to change the angle of incidence. It was designed as an interceptor and would go fast. I wanted to fly it and talked to the skipper of the squadron. He said sure. So I got a quick checkout in the Crusader. It had an afterburner which came on with a boom. Anyway, I got to not only fly it, but went up over 50,000 feet and fired up the AB and got it going supersonic. This was out over the ocean so as to not disturb the people on the ground. When I came back I had earned the 1000 mile per hour pin. I had orders back to Norfolk. Our squadron had passed the 10,000 hour accident free mark which may have had something to do with my being sent to Norfolk, Virginia again but this time to the Naval Aviation Safety Center. I was going to a Marine billet there as head of the Accident Investigation Section.



September 1964 saw me back at the Safety Center, but no assigned aircraft. It was beg, borrow, to get flight time. Old friends such as the SNB and T28 again appeared in my log book. Accident Investigation work was to send me and our five other investigators all over the world. I went on one to Hong Kong. Another to the Florida Keys and another to the Sikorsky factory in Connecticut. Often we would take parts from a crash and go to the Overhaul & Repair Depot for that type aircraft and wade through the disassembly inspection. To investigate helicopter accidents I thought I should know more about them and the Chief of Staff agreed.

I was sent to Pensacola for a short 32 hour course and flew the Sikorsky H-34. This troop transport could carry about 6 men and a crew of two. It was the last troop carrier to have a reciprocating engine. Later ones would all be turbines. Those 32 hours were enough that when I left the Safety Center in August 1966 and went to Vietnam I finally wound up in a Helicopter Group after spending a few months as Wing Safety Officer. To me it was almost an oxymoron to talk about safety and combat at the same time, but we did need to do all we could to preserve assets. Many pilots had to make tough decisions as to whether to try to save some one or to play it safe and not risk his aircraft. I made a stab at getting into the A4 group at Chu Lai. To do so I wrangled a trip to Iwakuni, Japan and got one hop in an A4 to be able to tell the boss I was current. But it was all to no avail. At the Helicopter Group, I was in command of the base facilities, tower, crash crew, power, water, laundry and guard. I felt like I was the whipping boy whenever anything didn't work properly. But thankfully I did have some good men. When I could get free I went on helicopter missions, mostly resupply or special lift.

We did get shot at regularly and picked up holes when we were down low. I remember on one occasion the air officer of the unit in hiding said he would pop a purple smoke for us to find him. We saw smoke and started an approach when the AO came on the air hollering "Not There". As we pulled up we got a lot of fire. I guess they knew what color purple was!

The group was moving north when I got orders to go back to the US. The Group Commander offered command of a helicopter squadron if I would extend, but I declined. Two reasons: First I was not well qualified in the Helicopter. Second I had been passed over for Bird Colonel once before going to Vietnam and a second time on the way out. Trying to get blood out of a turnip! Instead I went back to Hawaii, joined the AirFMFPac staff and what happened? I got sent back on inspection trips to Vietnam.

Six months of that and I requested retirement. I was home on September 1, 1968 and I haven't flown since. Do I miss it? Sure. But my time is past. I thought I might build a homebuilt plane , but the doctor found I had a cardiac arrhythmia that would keep me from flying so I gave the partial kit away and wrote finis. My highest award was the DFC Distinguished Flying Cross for leading a division (4 a/c) on a close support mission in Korea. We took out an artillery piece that was giving our troops a lot of trouble.

I had a total of 5100 accident free flight hours not counting my navigator time. Nearly all of it was single engine aircraft so I was kept and preserved by God's hand.


1 Sent to Lou Ives by Col. Walker’s son, Rod Walker, October 23, 2008.












Yakima, WA

Spokane, WA Induction Ctr.Drafted




Spokane, WA





San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA MCAS MIRIMAR to MAG 15




San Diego, CA





Kwajalein Is.

Treasure I,CA MARFAIRWEST Leave & Ordrs




Treasure I.CA

El Centro, CA MAG 35 Orders waiting




E1 Centro, CA

Mojave, CA MASG-51 Navigation




Mojave, CA










Corp.Chr. TX





Pensacola, FL






Santa Ana, CA MCAS EL TORO VMF 224,VMF452




Santa Ana, CA

Quantico, VA MCSCHOOLS Engr & Maint 0




Quantico, VA

Cherry Pt, NC 2MAW,MAGI4,VMF 122




Cherry Pt

Cherry Point MAG 11,VMF 115




Cherry Point

Pohang, Korea 1MAW,MAG33,K-3




Pohang, Kor.

Pensacola, FL NAS Pensacola, NATC




Pensacola, FL

Quantico, VA AWS, Jr. Course




Quantico, VA



7Apr 58


N.Miami, FL

Iwakuni, Japan. 1MAW, MAG 12 VMA 331




Iwakuni, Japan

Norfolk, VA LFTU LANT Instructor




Norfolk, VA

Omaha, NE Un of Omaha Student




Omaha, NE

SantaAna, CA 3MAW, MAG 15, H&MS 15, Group




Santa Ana,

Santa Ana 3 MAW. MAG33, VMA-311




Santa Ana, CA





Norfolk, VA

Danang, Viet 1MAW, HQ SQ Staff, Wing Avn





Ky Ha MAG 36,MABS C.O. MA Base S




Ky Ha, Viet

Camp Smith, HI AIRFMFPAC Staff Avn Saf




Camp Smith, HI

T.I. SFA,CA Retirement Orders





Yakima, WA Retired